Home Game Reviews Another Code – Recollection review: Spooky yarn should leave the past alone

Another Code – Recollection review: Spooky yarn should leave the past alone

by dev

Platform: Switch

Age: 12+

Verdict: ★★☆☆☆

Another Code: Ashley is on the trail of her vanished parents

A long-lost story about memory has been recalled from the distant past and discovered to be a relatively forgettable relic. That seems harsh but it’s baffling to understand the thinking process from Nintendo that determined an old DS adventure (and its Wii-based sequel) should be exhumed from the vaults and tarted up for a modern audience.

Japanese developer Cing released Another Code: Two Memories on DS in 2005 and Another Code: R – A Journey Into Lost Memories on Wii in 2009. At best they could fairly be described as having a cult following for their spooky yarns about a teenage girl pulling at the threads of her parents’ apparent disappearance and death.

Cing is now long gone and the games were very much of their time despite their innovation – visual novels exploring mature themes and coupled with light puzzles. Certainly at this remove, neither of the two are as highly regarded as Cing’s best-known other title Hotel Dusk – which must surely be now due for reappraisal if Nintendo has been prepared to sink a considerable investment into upgrading Another Code.

Given that that story from one flows chronologically and logically from Two Memories to A Journey, it’s little surprise you can’t choose to play them out of sequence even though they are effectively two separate narratives. So you begin with orphaned 13-year old Ashley being invited to the menacingly titled Blood Edward Island by her father, whom she had long been told was dead after mysteriously vanishing with her mother.

Even though there’s a creepy mansion to explore and a suddenly acquired companion turns out to be a young ghost, this hardly puts you in Resident Evil territory. Much of Another Code involves watching and listening to dialogue play out between the characters, allowing you unpick the back story to the mystery. But you rarely make any conversation choices and only occasionally are faced with relatively simple puzzles, such as finding the correct order of symbols to open a bookcase, for instance.

Cue lots of partly voiced lines of variable quality interspersed with text dialogue accompanied by sighs and murmurs from the cast. Even the animation can leave you a bit shortchanged – Ashley sometimes searches or examines objects without actually performing any action. “This closet has been cleaned out,” she says at one point without actually opening the damn thing.

Everyone’s a bit anxious, the pacing is all over the place and humour is in rare supply. Buffy, this ain’t.

For the record, the graphics have travelled a decade forward in quality from the originals without ever getting close to 2024. And the puzzles seem to have been largely overhauled due to the sources’ reliance on DS and Wii features such as the stylus and motion controls.

But that mechanical refinement provides little justification for Nintendo to disinter what are effectively historical curios at full price.

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